Wondering what type of small business CRM software you need for your company to manage your customer relationships? This article discusses the benefits of CRM software for small businesses and provides you with a list of useful functions you should look for when choosing CRM software for your company. You will find advice on how to choose the right CRM solution and how to start a CRM implementation project. Let’s get started.
Customer Relationship Management software or CRM involves a lot of functions and can carry a lot of the workload for businesses. Companies use CRM systems to coordinate and manage interactions between the company’s staff and its prospects and customers. These systems primarily serve the cause of managing sales and storing and analyzing sales data. CRM systems from different vendors differ in functionality but most CRM software has a core set of functions, e.g. tracking leads, marketing reports, and monitoring services delivered to the customers.
A CRM solution is a valuable tool for growing and scaling any business so it’s important to use a CRM system with the right set of features. Before you buy and implement new CRM software for small business, you need to have a good understanding of the usual CRM features and know very well what specific CRM functionality your company needs.
We have deployed dozens of off-the-shelf and custom CRM systems and, from our experience, we recommend that you should pay attention to the following key functions that help improve relationships with customers and make the process more streamlined.
- Contact management allows you to segment your customers and prospects into groups and organize the customer data to improve your marketing strategies when you promote new products.
- Reports and customized dashboards allow users to take advantage of data visualization and view statistics in a highly engaging manner.
- Sales analytics will help you collect data from web traffic, social media, and other channels and analyze it to create better marketing campaigns.
- Opportunity management is a relatively new feature that allows to simplify the sales process and reduce the sales cycle length.
- Forecasting helps to estimate future sales and make informed business decisions. You will be able to understand whether your marketing efforts bring results.
- Call center automation allows you to integrate any third-party program into the unified system and control the company’s call center from your CRM’s user interface (UI).
- Campaign management feature gives you an opportunity to manage the entire sales campaign from a single UI, combining analytics tools with software responsible for collecting the data.
- Customer satisfaction management feature allows you to be proactive and efficiently improve customer satisfaction levels. You can track existing cases and manage confidential information in a secure environment.
Small Business CRM: Why Do You Need It?
Customers are the most valuable asset of your company and relationships with them will determine the success of your business. CRM software helps businesses know everything about their existing customers and prospects, use this information to drive engagement and interactions, improve products and services to meet customer preferences and tastes, and provide the best customer experience.
Gathering and organizing actionable customer data is a time-consuming task and you can’t afford to make mistakes and lose your revenue as a result of incomplete data. That’s why you should invest in high-quality CRM for small business that will help you take customer satisfaction to the next level. Professionally implemented CRM systems offer a number of advantages and bring powerful functionality and features that can help your company find success and do the following:
- Make intelligent business decisions – The best CRM for small business comes with powerful analytics features that allow you to assess business data real-time and get new actionable insights. You can react to market trends faster and make informed decisions while developing your business strategies.
- Boost sales – CRM helps you track your leads when they move down the sales funnel and manage them more efficiently, finding weak links in the sales process and addressing them promptly. CRM helps you realize upsell opportunities, create a reward system for repeat customers, and ensure personalized communication with them to improve engagement and increase conversion.
- Increase productivity and efficiency – CRM software streamlines processes across your business operations and automates routine tasks so your employees can resolve issues faster and focus on selling.
- Do business anywhere – you can get access to CRM data using mobile apps, web interfaces, and offline access and get work done on the go. You can manage existing accounts, respond to client requests, check real-time inventory, make reports etc.
- Reinforce data security – you can store important confidential customer information and business data in a centralized CRM system and control your employees’ access to it with a system of appropriate permissions.
Keeping your customers happy should be your top priority. That’s why you should invest in a quality small business CRM system and prove to your customers that you really care about their satisfaction.
Is CRM For Small Business Expensive To Own?
When selecting new CRM software, you should always take into account the total cost of ownership (TCO). It includes all the costs of a CRM project, direct and indirect. In simple words, TCO is the sum of all costs related to purchasing, implementing, and managing CRM solutions.
There is a large variety of CRMs with the wide range of prices. Some of them are virtually free and others can cost thousands of dollars per user annually. But this is only the purchase price. The total cost of ownership will include all additional expenses to operate a CRM system, e.g. customization, training, migration, maintenance, upgrades, ongoing support, and more. TCO also includes other costs like productivity loss to fixing system errors, downtime, and other factors that many business owners typically omit when making buying decisions.
Of course, the price is important but it’s the total cost of ownership that should be the driving force of your tech stack decisions. Before deciding on how to implement a CRM, you need to perform TCO analysis because it determines your ROI and will help you avoid costly and ineffective solutions. Understanding how much your CRM software is going to cost you over the time will help you make a better buying decision. In many cases a custom CRM will be your best choice.
Now let’s take a look at expenses that you should take into account when performing a TCO analysis. There are 3 major costs associated with buying and implementing CRM software: acquisition costs, operation costs, and personnel costs.
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Acquisition costs include:
- The cost of software – you may pay it up front or as a monthly or yearly recurring fee
- Implementation costs of setting up your CRM system for your small business
- User licenses – you may need to purchase a separate license for each user
- Customization – you may need to hire a developer to customize the boxed software for your specific business and majority of companies charge you for the customization of your CRM features
- Data migration – some vendors charge a fee to migrate your data and some of them offer this for free
- Integration – you may need to pay a developer to integrate your current third-party systems
- Training – to ensure the success of your CRM system, you have to invest in training your employees to use it properly
Operating costs include:
- Ongoing training
- CRM software support and maintenance
- Additional integrations
Personnel costs include:
- CRM admin – you may need to hire someone to manage your CRM system
- IT support staff – if you decide to develop a custom CRM, you will need professionals to maintain, upgrade it and keep it secure
- Process consultant – you may need to hire a consultant who will help you in the development of CRM implementation plan and give you valuable advice on how to use the software to achieve your business goals.
Now you have an idea of what TCO is, let’s discuss different options you can choose from to help you make the right buying decision for your small business.
What is the Best CRM for Small Business? It Depends
Wondering how to choose the best CRM for small business? Here are some tips.
- First, you need to select the type of CRM software that comes in different shapes and sizes. Typically, we categorize CRM software depending on the size of your business, your business priorities, and technical features of CRM systems.
- When selecting a software type, you should start with identifying your priorities, put them in the context of your business size, and then, think about technical features that you need.
- Choose CRM type based on your priorities
- Customer service-oriented CRM software monitors and stores customer data and mines it to get actionable insights for sales funneling (repeat sales, upsell).
- Marketing and sales CRM systems measure the success of campaigns across different channels (email clicks, website visits, social media).
- Appointment CRM software schedules time to communicate with your customers.
- Choose CRM type based on the size of your business
- Enterprise CRM systems have a lot of capabilities so they can handle a big amount of data and have more features and modules. They are pricey but come with full technical support.
- Small business CRM apps can handle smaller amount of data and have fewer features. Small business CRM software is cheaper but it has limited support.
- Choose CRM type based on the technical functions
- Operational CRM software consolidates all customer data into a user profile
- Sales automation CRM tracks the whole sales process
- Campaign management CRM stores, tracks, and analyzes campaigns
- Analytical CRM mines data from different databases to check for patterns or trends
- Social CRM collects information about customers from social networks
- Collaborative CRM allows team members to share files
- Crowdsourcing CRM mines customer suggestions and ideas to develop a product or an event
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Off-The-Shelf CRM For Small Business
Ready-made CRM software is easy to install and most systems are ready to use straight away. Off-the-shelf CRM solutions from reputable brands are secure and have a wealth of features, many of which you don’t even need and will never use. But you often have to change your business process to fit your CRM system and share a data model with your competitors.
Freemium CRM Systems
Many popular off-the-shelf cloud-based CRM solutions are available as free basic versions with limited functionality so you can test the system before you decide to upgrade and purchase premium features. Freemium software has limited features, data storage, and the number of users. But the core CRM features like contacts, accounts, and leads management are typically included in the basic free solution. Small businesses should consider freemium CRM software when evaluating potential CRM solutions.
Custom CRM Systems
Custom CRM development can be a good option for a small business if you know exactly what you need. Let’s take the example of the custom CRM developed on QuickBase platform which offers unlimited flexibility and functionality. You create exactly what you need and pay for exactly what you need. The system is done to fit your specific business process and workflow around your organization, while with a ready-made solution, you always have to squeeze your needs into the available workflows. The installation of a custom CRM takes some time and efforts but it pays off in the long term due to higher efficiency, easier acceptance by your company’s employees, and lower maintenance costs. Custom CRM brings a lot of value, even though it’s more difficult to implement.
Okay, I Need A CRM For Small Business. Where Do I Start?
When managing your CRM implementation project, you’ll need to perform a lot of steps – define the business need, assign resources, develop business processes, gather the implementation team, and think of the future needs for integration of additional systems. You should think at least 2 years ahead and consider the requirements for CRM when your business scales. Besides, you need to plan the testing of the new system and making adjustments based on the tests. And it’s critical to plan the onboarding programs for your employees.
As you see, CRM implementation takes time and effort. A great way to ensure the smooth implementation of CRM for small business is to invite Quandary CG into the project. We will bring years of expertise from different markets around the globe and will take care of the business process analysis to ensure the best CRM solution for your specific needs. Our knowledge of innovative technology will ensure smooth technical integrations. Order your free consultation now to learn how we can help you with your small business CRM project.